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Two Against Nature

637 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 29, 2000
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Vinyl, Import, April 11, 2000
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Two Against Nature + Everything Must Go + Gaucho (Remastered)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The release of Two Against Nature is a major musical event. The two are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, and Two Against Nature is the first new studio album in 20 years from Steely Dan. Every previous original studio album from the duo has been certified gold or platinum. It will be only natural for Two Against Nature to catapult Steely Dan back to the top. Certified Platinum by the RIAA. (3/01)

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Never so much a band as the slyly crafted specter of one, Steely Dan's mid-1990s "return" to live performance was as surprising as it was perverse. They'd previously toured only once, round about the era of Watergate, pet rocks, and Shaft. A half-decade after their concert comeback and a mere 19 years after Gaucho seemingly closed out their recording career, the jazz-pop conceit of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen deliberately dropped back into a recording landscape where they weren't so much seasoned vets as alien ambassadors. Two Against Nature, indeed. The tack is instantly familiar: a musical/lyrical reconciliation of Monk and Newman, with familiar harmonic flourishes, nimble studio chops, and an icy, world-class cool, as willfully insulated from hip-hop and techno as it was from disco and Top 40. Less concerned with melodic hooks than a canny sophistication of mood and manner, Becker and Fagen never let a trite melody get in the way of a good story, whether their protagonists are plotting some nefarious obliquity ("Gaslighting Abby"), Southern-fried incest (the deliciously funky "Cousin DuPree"), or bleakly confronting dashed expectations ("What a Shame About Me"). A little more musically languorous perhaps, its trademark cynicism now undercut by hints of sadness and regret, this is nonetheless a Steely Dan album worthy of the name, and like the best of them, one whose subtle charms reveal themselves in surprising ways. -Jerry McCulley


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 29, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Giant Records
  • ASIN: B00004GOXS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (637 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,690 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 73 people found the following review helpful By CLS424@AOL.com on May 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
My, how time flies! Its 20 years later their last studio album. The ditzy bimbo they sang about in "Hey Nineteen" is now pushing 40 and Walter Becker and Donald Fagen have finally dusted off the long-retired Steely Dan moniker, gotten themselves a brand new bunch of studio sidemen, and have released new material. And its pretty much what you'd expect from them. Steely Dan 2000 has not embraced rap-metal or alternative rock, nor have they taken the Santana approach of peppering their album with the contributions of various popular guest stars to try and appeal to a younger generation of fans. Rather, they have chosen to stay on their well-traveled path of combining jazz-fusion with obscure lyrics full of double meanings. While the words to opening track "Gaslighting Abby" can inspire many a late-night debate as to what the song is about, the tune sure does sound cool. The rest of the album, from the incestuous "Cousin Dupree" to the self-congratulatory title track sounds like . . well, like a Steely Dan album - brass galore, searing jazz guitar licks, pounding electric pianos and Fagen's signature nasally vocals. Of course, doing their own thing has always been at the core of the Becker/Fagen collaboration. During their 1971-80 heyday, the "Dan" sound was at odds with disco, prog rock, heavy metal, punk, and virtually anything else played on the radio. This still holds true today as they come up against the likes of Kid Rock and the Backstreet Boys. Becker and Fagen are not hung up on embracing new trends - they do what they do very well and continue to stick with it.Read more ›
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Michael D. Moran on June 19, 2000
Format: DVD
If you've scrolled down the page this far, it's obvious that you're a Steely Dan fan and you, therefore, don't require a long-winded biography of this most unique band and its principal founders, Donald Fagan and Walter Becker. You already know they write great songs with memorable hooks, fascinating lyrics, and keen, jazz-influenced harmony. And no doubt you know that their latest studio album, "Two Against Nature," is their first in nearly twenty years.
This extraordinary video concert, taped at Sony Studios in New York this past winter and now available on VHS and DVD, was first presented by PBS Television as an installment of its "In The Spotlight" series. I purchased the DVD and it is remarkable in terms of both the performance and the overall production.
If you've seen the PBS version, be advised that the DVD offers essentially the same program, only with few more interview segments, rehearsal footage and short clips of Becker and Fagan humorously interrogating various friends and band members. It also includes an energetic performance of "FM" edited out during my PBS station's pledge week, perhaps to allow more time to pitch tote bags and umbrellas.
The old songs like "Kid Charlemagne," "Pretzel Logic," and "Babylon Sisters" sound better than ever. And the new material is superb as well. Thankfully, the concert is produced without the usual obligatory special effects that so often make concert videos annoying. It simply looks and sounds great.
While you're waiting for the Steely Dan tour to hit your town this summer, this DVD will have to do it the meantime. And it will do just fine.
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546 of 600 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwachter on February 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Steely Dan is like an enigma. The true die hard fans have longed and yearned for anything by this dynamic duo. Finally it is here. The nine new songs in Two Against Nature deliver what any fan desires - the familiar sound with unfamiliar songs. Although they are spectacular live and we all should have the various box sets available (the best is on MCA), this recording is a must and will appeal to the fans from before as well as an entire new generation of Steely Dan fans. A must buy.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By "fletch_11" on February 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Steely Dan return with their 1st new studio album since 1980's 'Gaucho'. So what is it like? Well, if you've heard the Dan's vocalist/writer Donald Fagen's solo CD 'Kamakiriad' (released in 1993), you'll have a fair idea of the sound and texture of the songs, since both albums were produced by his Dan partner Walter Becker (although Fagen is co-credited with production on this one too). The songs are funky - rhythmicly driven, and with Becker on board again, have a little of that Steely Dan nasty streak in them. Songs about strange characters, some of them low-lifes. The album is harder to get into, though, and doesn't immediately 'grab' you on first listen as some of the older Dan does. I put this down to the melodies not being as strong. In an interview Fagen gave in 1993 in Keyboard magazine on the release of Kamakiriad, he states, "The only change is that I'm losing my interest in melody. I'm more interested in simplifying things in order to get more of a rhythmic effect....it used to bother me if something didn't have an interesting melody. Now I don't care that much about it.." I think that sentiment carries over onto this album.
Some highlights for me include 'Almost Gothic' and 'Jack of Speed', as well as the closer 'West of Hollywood' with it's amazing Sax solo (by Chris Potter) The album only has 9 songs, which comes to just over 50 minutes - not very long for an album by today's standards. Don't get me wrong though. The album is good, but don't make any judgements by listening to it in a store. Buy it. Take it home. Let it mull a few days. It'll grow on you.
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Remarks about Gaucho
Steely Dan is so good, their albums put together with such care, brilliance and originality that you really can't slag any of their work. But it is human nature to categorize and discriminate, so even fans have the need to identify "the worst Steely Dan album." It's an exercise tinged... Read More
Feb 5, 2007 by John Stodder |  See all 3 posts
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